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5 trendsetting companies/institutions in Illinois. One is working on toilet tissue…

Spring (ish).

Time to look at things with a brighter perspective. Time to look at 5 fresh institutions/companies to watch in Illinois over the next 9 months. It’s a diverse group with interests in 3-D printing, tubeless toilet paper, Kids tablets and crowdsourced fundraising for medical expenses.

Enjoy the awesomeness:

1.Kimberly-Clark and it’s tube free Toilet Rolls: Who said there is no innovation in the toilet industry! Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) is stepping up with a solution to a longtime problem: what to do with the waste that is the toilet tissue tube. You know someone had to sort this out considering the global push towards sustainability and more conscious living. The Hoffman Estates based company estimates that the 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced per year in the U.S. generate enough tubing to stretch over a million miles when placed end to end.

Why watch? The value of this initiative will only be truly seen if customers respond (and it seems to be catching on). Expect other companies to follow this trend. And I know, without a doubt, that you’ve used some tissue paper today so this’ll stay on your mind…

2. Nano-CEMMs and 3D printing : 3-Dimensional printing is about to be huge (or so says the Economist). The Nano-CEMM center (a partnership between Univ of  Illinois Urbana Champaign, Stanford, Northwestern, Notre Dame and NC State) is pioneering curvilinear  3D printing. In simple terms: it’s a cool way of improving the quality of 3-D prints and it’s a disruptive technology.

Why watch? The performance of the antenna on your smart phone will benefit from the method this center is developing. I’m sure Apple are watching. You should too.

2. Educational Games for Tablets (Tallytots by Spinlight Studios): The Education industry (including the educational games market) is big but stale. Tablets are changing that. Tablet and Mobile Applications are big and will stay big for a while. Spinlight Studios (Champaign, Illinois) with it’s first app, Tallytots, is making great strides in becoming a big player in the intersection of the education and mobile app market with its fun and educational counting game for kids.

Why watch? In the skewed world of ‘apps’ the free apps get all the buzz. Tallytots is a paid app that beat out Ms PacMan, the Dr Seuss Apps and Mathboard and is rising fast in the App Store (number 19 at the last check). And that’s worth celebrating.

4. VTech and it’s Tablets for Kids: The Ipad, Xoom etc are, for the most part, too expensive for the average American. And you know kids want to play and learn with these tablets too (cute Ipad youtube video). This creates suppressed demand and suppressed demand plus lowering costs of production lead to huge market opportunity. VTech (a company in Arlington Heights, Illinois) is looking to capitalize on this latent demand with it’s line of kid and pocket friendly Inno-Pads. VTech already has it’s line of Innovative VReaders.

Why watch? People love their kids, the economy is on a slight upswing and Summer is just round the corner. There will be sales…

5. Fundraising for loved ones made easy with GiveForward:  There is a lot of uncertainty around healthcare insurance and medical expenses. With uncertainty comes opportunity. And with opportunity, in some cases, sprouts greed. But some people see uncertainty and confusion as a chance to help people. Step up Chicago based GiveForward. The site (in their own words) ‘is the easiest way to help a loved one in need’ by providing an easy to use fundraising platform for the smallest to the biggest medical expense. We say well done…

Why watch? Debates over the healthcare bill and rising medical expenses aren’t going to subside anytime soon. Neither will the need to care for our loved ones. Expect Giveforward to grow. They’ve already assisted in raising over $4.1MM!

Any other companies on your list? Any trends you think we should watch?

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  1. [...] 5 trendsetting companies/institutions in Illinois. One is working on toilet tissue… [...]

  2. Ethan Austin says:

    Thanks for including us in this list! Also, have to agree with you on V-Tech tablets for kids and the Tallytots. Along those same lines, we have seen a ton of fundraisers on our site in recent months to purchase iPads for autistic children. The iPads combined with special apps gives non-verbal autistic children the ability to communicate for the first time ever. Pretty amazing what technology can do!

    1. power2switch says:

      Pretty amazing Ethan. It’s the unintended benefits of technology that provide the most inspiring stories..

      And you guys deserve all the praise and recognition you’re getting. All the very best!

  3. [...] 5 trendsetting companies/institutions in Illinois. One is working on toilet tissue… [...]